Director: Alex Kurtzman
Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Annabelle Wallis, Courtney B. Vance
I bet the first thought that came to your mind was, “Do we really need another Mummy movie?” There was potential at hand, but now the answer is no. This reboot finds Tom Cruise replacing Brendan Fraser as the action hero. While that feels a bit unoriginal, there is a gender swap with Star Trek Beyond star Sofia Boutella as the title character once portrayed by Boris Karloff back in 1932. I mention Karloff to point out that Universal Studios is looking to have a franchise of their own by rebooting their old monster movies as their focus. Boutella’s mummy dates back to an Egyptian legend about Princess Ahmanet who killed her father and baby brother in an act of revenge. She was then killed and mummified due to her crimes. Her tomb was moved far away and now lies deep in the Mesopotamian desert.
Cruise and Jake Johnson (New Girl) star as Nick Morton and Chris Vail, respectively. They’re two soldiers scoping out hidden burial ground in that area. It should come as no surprise that they find themselves in a whirl of trouble with the local civilians. A ground attack ensues and ends with a massive sinkhole opening up and unearthing a treasure trove of Egyptian artifacts, tombs, jewelry, and a mercury river flowing beneath the city. Dr. Jenny Halsey (Wallis), a doctor and archaeologist, is also on hand as part of their mission. They fly the sarcophagus of what could be Ahmanet back to London for research. They should know never to awaken the dead as only chaos ensues. Ahmanet is brought back to life and has her own motive at hand to find Set, the god of death. Ahmanet isn’t the only figure wrapped in mystery. See what I did there? Russell Crowe pops up as Dr. Jekyll who is beyond fascinated with the appearance of new mummies and tombs being discovered in London.
The Mummy marks the first movie in this new movie monsters franchise called “Dark Universe.” The studio must have full confidence that this will do well as they have already announced The Bride of Frankenstein (2019), The Invisible Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster as future titles with the likes of Javier Bardem and Johnny Depp attached. It’s a shame to state that there’s nothing fresh or exciting about The Mummy to get us interested in a potential franchise. Director Alex Kurtzman, who’s worked on the Transformers and Stark Trek movies, can’t determine what genre he’s making. There’s an uneven balance in tone on whether it’s supposed to be a typical action film, a cheesy monster movie, or a spooky mystery. The script by David Koepp, Dylan Kussman, and Christopher McQuarrie doesn’t help in the consistency department. There are some blatantly corny lines, but not enough to make it a specific choice. McQuarrie is a frequently collaborator of Tom Cruise’s, and I can hear his rewrites at play whenever there’s an attempt at humor in the film.
Tom Cruise can be a reliable movie star who typically gives a 110% to each movie. That can shine through and benefit mediocre films. I’ve come to the point where I can now just see through that. He’s stuck is in a rut where every movie of his is starting to feel like déjà vu all over again. He’s always hands on in the production process, but his choices now feel so recycled and outdated at this point. The Mummy finds Cruise as Nick constantly doing action stunts (Mission Impossible), running from the bad guys (Jack Reacher), and caught completely off guard by an unknown species (War of the Worlds, Edge of Tomorrow). There was nothing about Nick that felt any different than any of his other characters of late. Cruise is basically playing himself again as Nick is a fearless character who is always up for an adventurous challenge. What’s missing is his charm and charisma, which aren’t apparent in The Mummy. He can be a great actor with Jerry Maguire, Magnolia, and Born on the Fourth of July as examples. He doesn’t seem interested in that kind of work anymore, which is a shame.
The Mummy isn’t a complete waste of time thanks to Sofia Boutella’s performance as Ahmanet. Boutella makes her devilishly wicked as the film progresses. She’s definitely a star on the rise in the action genre after memorable stints in Star Trek Beyond and Kingsman: The Secret Service. Jake Johnson is another highlight as the wise-ass Chris Vail who turns into pure zombie mode early on. The special effects and make-up on the mummies/zombies are visually appealing. There are some great set pieces with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian settings.
I wasn’t bored throughout The Mummy, but I found myself waiting for more. I found myself questioning whom this movie was made for and determined the main demographic probably leans toward boys and girls ages 8-12. It may be a little too scary for anyone younger. Anyone older will probably find themselves checking their watch from time to time.
Is It Worth Your Trip to the Movies? If you want Tom Cruise on autopilot, wait for the Top Gun sequel
RATING: 2 out of 5 TICKET STUBS